Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

IELTS Writing Task 2 is a challenge for all IELTS students.

It’s vital that you have strategies for this essay.

You must understand the scoring system and know what the Examiner is looking for.

There are many different essay types and you must know how to write each one.

Today we focus on recognizing the difference between these essay types and how to score highly on each.

Today’s question

Today we are answering a listener question about IELTS Writing Task 2.

First, I would like to thank your team for all the support.

Here is the question that I could not find any relevant answer for while searching online.

I also asked my tutor; is it required to discuss the opposite view of mine in the ”Discuss both views” and ”Advantage and disadvantage” question types in the IELTS writing section?

If so, what structure of a paragraph related to my opposite perspective should I use?

When to discuss both sides of an issue

The answer to this student’s question is yes!

If the question mentions two sides you MUST mention both sides in your essay.

This is vital for your Task Response score.

  • Advantage/disadvantage
  • Discuss both sides
  • Two sides are mentioned in the topic

Regarding the structure, you should write a paragraph about each side to make it easy.

What if only one side is mentioned?

If there is only one side mentioned in the topic, you have more options.

For example, the topic might be:

Many people are against keeping any wild animals in captivity.

To what extent do you agree or disagree? OR What is your opinion?

In this case there are two options.

Option #1: Opinion essay

You can have two paragraphs about one opinion, but you should have a concession in one of the paragraphs.

A concession is where you mention the other side that you don’t agree with.

Don’t miss our blog post How to Write Killer Concessions in IELTS Writing Task 2.

Option #2: Argument essay

If only one side is mentioned you can also write an Argument essay.

This is where you address each side of the issue in its own paragraph.

When you write this type of essay, no concession is needed.

Instead, you’ll provide ideas with supporting details for each side of the issue.

Strategies Created By a Former Examiner

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Example #1: Opinion essay

It is extremely helpful to see what this would look like in an IELTS Task 2 essay!

The following is a body paragraph that contains a concession.

This would be the second body paragraph in an Opinion essay for the following topic:

Many people are against keeping any wild animals in captivity. What is your opinion?

There are those who would say that captive animals can be cared for well, and there is much to learn by doing so. However, I maintain that there are not enough laws enforced to ensure the wellbeing of the animals. For instance, a few years ago there was an infamous documentary on Netflix about a real man named Joe Exotic. He had many wild animals in his private reserve, namely tigers, and they were treated atrociously. Thus, owing to the fact that many animals are forced to live in unhealthy captive situations, I still feel that this practice, as a whole, should be banned.

Example #2: Argument essay

The following example paragraph could be written for this topic:

Many believe that full time students should not have to spend time volunteering, while others believe it is vital that all young people complete volunteer hours.

Discuss both sides and give your own opinion.

The first body paragraph will cover the other side and this paragraph would be the second body paragraph.

Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that adding 2-3 hours a week of volunteer work within the community would only serve to clarify their goals. In seeing the world through a broader perspective, they will gain insight into how they can participate in the global community responsibly and decide upon majors that will serve the greater good. For instance, instead of choosing to study Finance in order to selfishly amass personal wealth, they may decide to use this degree to work in an NGO which aids poverty-stricken communities to create local businesses.

When to write an argument essay

Argument essays are written for many different essay types.

  • Do you agree or disagree?
  • Explain both sides
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Argument essays can also be written when only one side is shared.


There are many different types of IELTS Task 2 essays.

The essay you write will depend on the topic you are given.

You must be familiar with all of these and the structure for each.

The strategies you need for each essay type can be found in our online IELTS course.

Sign up today to get all the strategies you need!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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